gerrymandering

Even as Democrats and Republicans spend 2018 vying to win key races around the country, a larger legal battle underway this year could reshape the American political map — literally.

By June, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to decide three major redistricting cases — out of Wisconsin, Maryland and Texas — that will lay some of the foundation for what the maps will look like, not just this year, but after the 2020 census that could affect control of Congress for the next decade.

The state of those legal cases and other key ones (that could affect 2018 and 2020) are below.

Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET

Pennsylvania will soon have new congressional maps.

The United States Supreme Court has decided not to block a state court ruling requiring Pennsylvania's Legislature to immediately redraw its legislative boundaries.

Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court had previously ruled those 18 congressional districts — drawn by a Republican Legislature and signed by a Republican governor in 2011 — were overly partisan and violated the state Constitution.

How do you make people understand the odd forms created by gerrymandering? Make them feel it in their toes.

That's the idea behind the Gerrymander 5K happening Saturday in Asheville, N.C., which will trace the boundary between North Carolina's 10th and 11th Congressional districts.

That line splits the left-leaning city into two districts that, when combined with more conservative rural voters, both end up represented by Republicans.

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Updated on Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET

Keith Gaddie has "hung up his spurs."

The election expert from the University of Oklahoma no longer helps state legislatures draw new district lines to maximize their partisan advantage.

He was still wearing those spurs in 2011 when he provided data that helped Wisconsin Republicans enact a legislative redistricting plan aimed at maximizing their power for the foreseeable future.

But now he has reversed course and filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that the practice is undemocratic.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up an appeal over electoral districts in Wisconsin after a lower court ruled that the state's Republican-drawn map constitutes an "unconstitutional partisan gerrymander."

It's the first time in more than a decade that the nation's highest court will take up the issue of partisan gerrymandering, or drawing voting districts with the aim of strengthening one political party.

Updated at 3:25 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down two North Carolina congressional districts, saying the state relied too heavily on race in drawing them.

A panel of federal judges ruled on Friday that three of Texas' congressional districts are illegal, violating the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. The panel found that Republicans had used race as a motivating factor in redistricting.

Judges Xavier Rodriguez and Orlando Garcia wrote the court's decision, which comes after a protracted and complex legal battle that began when the new districts were drawn in 2011, following the last census.

A recent federal court ruling could open a new wave of redistricting challenges across the country. And that includes Oklahoma, where Republicans now control 78.5 percent of the statehouse seats – a 10 percentage-point increase since the GOP-controlled Legislature redrew legislative boundaries five years ago.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

After finishing up work at the airplane manufacturing plant where Robert Karr has worked for more than three decades, the McAlester city councilman drives his pickup truck around the town's 4th ward. Karr has lived in this area almost his entire life, save for six years when his family moved out of town.

His 4th ward roots are deep, and Karr knows his constituents well.

“This guy right here is pretty interesting,” Karr says as he drives past a one-story brick home. “He's got his Batmobile car back there, if you ever want to see a nice Batmobile car.”

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